Elim­i­nat­ing clut­ter vi­tal for flex spa­ces

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos -

It’s the space that’s sup­posed to be a bonus in con­do­mini­ums: the one marked “flex” or “stor­age” or even “multi-pur­pose” on the floor plans.

The prob­lem is, the space is of­ten so small, it hardly serves any pur­pose at all.

De­signer Erik Lau­zon of Kon­struk De­sign has seen how much of a dis­as­ter these rooms can be. “The flex room be­comes a dump. Peo­ple throw in stuff that they don’t know where else to put, or maybe they’re sim­ply not ready to throw that stuff away.”

If it’s some­thing that hasn’t been used for more than a year, it’s time to get rid of it, says Lau­zon.

Iden­ti­fy­ing a pur­pose for the space is the first step to get­ting junk un­der con­trol.

“If you’re go­ing to use it as a stor­age room, that’s fine,” he says.

“But don’t try and use it as a workspace, too; there isn’t enough room for that. If you’re go­ing to do work there, get rid of un­nec­es­sary clut­ter and make it min­i­mal­ist and us­able.”

Lau­zon is ap­ply­ing his strate­gies to a condo where the flex space is com­pletely in­flex­i­ble.

Joelle Guerin knew space would be a chal­lenge two years ago when she moved from her two-bed­room apart­ment in Burn­aby, B.C., to a condo in down­town Van­cou­ver.

“I must have looked at more than 30 places listed as be­ing one-bed­roomand-dens, or one-bed­room-plus-flex,” she says with a laugh. “I pretty much drove my re­al­tor crazy.”

Guerin ended up with a home close to her work­place, but had to make a lot of ad­just­ments dur­ing the tran­si­tion.

She bought all-new fur­ni­ture, in­clud- ing a stor­age bed that holds plenty of house­hold items. She also bought a sixby-two-foot desk, which dom­i­nates the stor­age room.

“It (the room) has be­come a catchall for ran­dom things. I put pa­per­work down, and it piles up un­til I clean it out ev­ery few months ... I don’t even go into it un­less I’m throw­ing some­thing in, and when peo­ple come over, I make sure I pull the door closed.”

The small size of the space has forced Guerin to pare down how much pa­per­work she keeps around, and Lau­zon says that’s a good start.

Lau­zon says Guerin should also start us­ing the large, black, framed peg­board over the desk to bet­ter dis­play keep­sakes or lists of tasks she has to tackle.

It would be a bet­ter use of space to cen­tre the desk and peg­board in the room, he says.

That would then leave enough room on the right hand side to put up six brightly coloured wall-hung fold­ers to deal with pa­per­work, with ti­tles like ‘not so im­por­tant,’ ‘im­por­tant’ and ‘do this right now.’

On the op­po­site wall, Lau­zon sug­gests cre­at­ing a photo wall with black and white pho­tos, mat­ted in white, to up the chic fac­tor.

He would paint the en­tire room in a soft grey tinged with green, which goes well with the ex­ist­ing car­pet.

De­sign­ers are in­creas­ingly us­ing grey as a neu­tral colour.

“If she doesn’t need the door, she should take it off, es­pe­cially since it’s such a small space,” says Lau­zon.

“Mak­ing the in­te­rior of the room vis­i­ble is an in­cen­tive to keep it or­ga­nized and you get rid of the dead space. You could also put a lit­tle bit of over­head shelv­ing in.” He es­ti­mates the to­tal cost at be­tween $300 and $500.

Joelle Geurin’s flex space could use a lit­tle help putting away the clut­ter. Above, de­signer Erik Lau­zon’s sketch of what the re­vamped space could look like.

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